Like crocuses poking through the snow signaling the coming of spring, the first appropriations bills for fiscal year 2015 have been introduced.
H.R. 4486 is the Military Construction and Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015. It would spend about $1,500 per U.S. family.
And H.R. 4487 is the Legislative Branch Appropriations Act, 2015. It’s modest cost: about $34 per family.
If you’re a budding government overseer (budding like a crocus poking through the snow), the legislative branch bill offers you a little opportunity to practice your trade. You see, it’s a relatively short bill. (Short relative to other spending bills, that is.) You can read through it and have some idea of where the money goes.
Go to the page for H.R. 4487, and in the “Learn More” box, click on “Read the bill.” You can scroll through whichever bill version you like.
See how much money goes to House leadership offices, members’ representational allowances (what they spend representing you in Congress), committee employees, standing committees, and so on.
Keep reading! There’s the money for the Capitol Police, Congressional Budget Office, the Architect of the Capitol and Capitol Visitor Center. The Library of Congress runs the Copyright Office and the Congressional Research Service. There they are.
There’s more. The bill would create a “Center for Audit Excellence” in the Government Accountability Office. Think it’s a good idea? A boondoggle?
How about sending $3,420,000 to the Open World Leadership Center Trust Fund for financing activities of the Open World Leadership Center? Good idea or bad?
You can also read the committee’s report on the bill. In the “Learn More” box, click on “Read an Analysis of the Bill.”
It has a nice summary of the bill in comparison to FY 2014 spending and the president’s FY 2015 spending request. It looks like this:
The new bill spends more in some places and less in others. What do you think of the differences?
If you care enough to weigh in with your representatives and senators, you can pick an item and tell them what you think about it. Then follow along to see whether they do anything consistent with your wishes. That’s not easy, but it’s kind of your job as an American citizen, so give it a try. We’ll keep trying to make this information easier to access. You can access it right now by reading the appropriations bill!